If there’s one thing I enjoy on a hot summer day, it’s a big ol’ heaping helping of justice. Fortunately I get my fill of such a dish almost every day in this industry with the Hundred Years’ War between two of our biggest tech giants, Samsung and Apple. I mean, who doesn’t enjoy waking up to the smell of freshly brewed coffee and sizzling bacon all while reading the latest article about this rivalry, with quotes that extend no farther than basically saying, “I know you are, but what am I?” I know it never gets old to me!
However, on Tuesday the everlasting battle between Apple and Samsung took an interesting turn (whether it’s for better or worse is up to you) as the court orders some older AT&T models of Apple devices to halt imports and sales. The following models have been subject to a ban: iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPad 3G, and the iPad 2 3G. While these devices are older and at least two generations behind the most current models of the iPhone and iPad line they’re still a main source of profit for Apple.
Apple heavily relies on their older models for profits as it serves as a cheaper solution for consumers who have that iOS itch that needs to be scratched. While I often mock iOS for being boring, there is a convenience to only having one phone with one new software upgrade each year – your phones tend to stay relevant for longer. It’s no secret that people enjoy investing money in things that will presumably last longer. How many times have you gotten an Android device that stopped receiving updates after one or two of them? Yet the iPhone 3GS made the title of being the longest supported smartphone capable of running a modern OS after it was revealed that the 3GS would be supported by the iOS 6 update. Then again, you also have to consider that Android’s software updates generally involve a major overhaul of new features while iOS tends to stay relatively the same. Nonetheless, Apple’s strategy to keep their older phones staying afloat is working, but it might be in for a bumpy ride if the court order goes through.
United States President Barack Obama must review the court order. If he doesn’t veto the decision within 60 days then the aforementioned devices will inevitably cease to be imported or sell on store shelves.
Fortunately for Apple, the decision to make the iPhone 4 and both the first and second generation iPads available to CDMA carrier Verizon Wireless makes this a much less crushing blow than it could be had they stuck it out with the AT&T only carrier exclusive. Apple has stated that they plan to appeal the decision either way.
But regardless of the final decision, and regardless how we feel about patent wars and who deserves to win and who doesn’t, taking phones off of shelves is inevitably only hurting the customer. Apple will continue to make money, and Samsung will continue to reap the benefits; they’re basically just trading the money back and forth between each other anyway. However, customers who may have had their eye on these older, and subsequently cheaper, versions of Apple’s smartphones and tablets will have a harder time trying to obtain one.
I find these kinds of punishments for patents pointless anyway. If Samsung wins a lawsuit, make Apple pay Samsung money and be done with it. Nobody, and I mean nobody, is going to look disgustedly at an iPhone 4 and say, “You know, the technology used in that AT&T version of the iPhone 4 was actually used by Samsung first. You should really consider getting a phone from a company that doesn’t copy such innovative technology.” In the past I’ve expressed how ridiculous I find some of Apple’s patents to be, but it takes a patent troll to know a patent troll, and Samsung is coming up as no different.
It’s becoming increasingly evident (as if it wasn’t enough already) that these two companies are getting a lot of media attention from all of these lawsuits. It’s unfortunate that some companies prefer letting crude, malicious advertisement take precedence over what is best for the customer.
As I mentioned earlier in the device, I love a good bout of justice when it’s deserved – but only when the deserving parties are getting served, not innocent bystanders.
Readers, what are your thoughts on this recent lawsuit verdict? Do you feel that the mentioned devices should be pulled from shelves completely? Share your thoughts in the comments!
Images via iOS Vlog, Planeta Red